Affiliations: [a] Istituto di Scienze degli Alimenti e della Nutrizione, Facoltà di Agraria, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense 84, 29100 Piacenza, Italy. e-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: The aim of our work was to assess the level of fruit and vegetable consumption in the meal provided by the school canteen, also assessing the degree of appreciation for the different fruit and vegetable types. Our focus was on school children in grades 1 (6 year olds) and 5 (10 year olds) so as to cover a broad age range and to assess how tastes and fruit and vegetable intake vary as a function of age. The children's liking of fruit was not homogeneous; oranges were the most appreciated fruits among 6 year olds while apples and kiwis were the least appreciated. The 10-year-old school children showed no statistically significant differences in their liking of certain fruit types. Fruit intake during the school meals was enough to meet a considerable amount of the vitamin C requirements, above all when oranges, kiwis and strawberries were eaten. Eating apples makes it possible to cover more than 10% of the fibre requirements. This is of great importance given its fundamental role. Although to a lower extent than vitamin C, fruit intake also allows a considerable percentage of the K nutritional requirements to be met, covering up to 28% in the case of bananas. As far as vegetables are concerned, tomatoes are the most popular among 10 year olds; given their high vitamin C content they make it possible to significantly cover the vitamin C requirements (24.5–34.1%). An important role is also played by the intake of carrots in relation to covering the retinol requirements (43.45% in grade 1 and 66.58% in grade 5).
Keywords: School children, Fruit, Vegetables, Vitamin C, Index of appreciation